Entries in Photos (134)
a) The spirit of the holidays taking you back to the time you were a kid waiting with baited breath for the sound of sleigh bells...
b) Ebola viruses that make you feel cheerful and joyous as you try and sing Oh Holy Night with swollen tonsils and lymph nodes
c) Food...mainly of the chocolate covered variety that you want to bury your face in, consume and wash it down with a couple of Chimay tall boys.
Got back from lovely Toronto and had to squeeze in za plan for the day at lunch time. One hour of openers before the Bataan Death March training this weekend that T has in store for me. I got out on the roadie as the roads are in good shape....but as I type this the snows are coming down again. Perfect timing. The Hour of Power was filled with just enough to get the juices flowing in the legs. Small ring efforts for bursts incremented over the hour dosed in just the right amounts. One saw a 1400w peak which was surprising as I wasn't trying to go too deep so I hope the signs are there that what's being baked in by T is going to give me some level of respetcable performance in the mother land.
Riding today, I hooked up with Von and Nick doing base. God that looks....relaxing. 175w...no more...just rolling and talking. OK, it's 5 hours worth of work, but the likelihood of getting cross eyed or vomitous while doing it is null. Even still, I coerced Von to come along on my voyage and do some efforts. Ha! Sucker.
Cross is crack.
Thanks Stephen for sending me this! Dubba's been after this set of stars and bars for some time now. To bridge like I heard he did to Mark and be able to come out on top is huge. We're all proud of you man!
I'm out here in a balmy SF for the day. Gotta get my work on out here at the Mother Ship. My run this AM was pleasant given the gorgeous weather. Back home: More pow pow. And yes, my big toes are STILL numb. What the _ _ _ _?!?! They are a bit better each day but this is scary. I can not imagine what those Everest climber freaks experience.
I fire up the PC this AM and check out the KC results. NICE JOB MATTY! It's awesome to see how many CO folks are at Nats. Indeed the geography makes it a bit easier for CO folks to get to KC, but I want to run some data to see the demographics after Sunday. It is insane to see this type of growth in the sport. 1900 competitors last year, 2000+ this year.
Speaking of demographics and data, I've been using Google Analytics to provide me with some visibility into who reads my shitty blog. As a data guy, it's sick what you get for free. Some major enterprises I've worked with do not even have this level of data to get a lens into where and how interested people are coming to them from.
Radio Freddy, you will be happy to see that you are the No. 1 reference link into M & C. Rad. It's interesting to see how long people stay (about 2 minutes) which is not quite as long as the average length of time a porno is viewed before it is stopped (about 4.5 minutes) so maybe I need some further bike porn or something to keep people hooked. HA!
Not so shocking is the geographic info. CO is the region where people are from viewing M & C. Probably just due to word of mouth. I need me some advertising or something in those other regions! What up, Wyoming, Arkansas and Mississippi?? What? No cross there? C'mon!
OK, so Longman sold me out. He took it upon his resourceful self to get the awesome shot he took of my boogs pouring out of my nose at States this weekend all up and posted on Velonews. I showed my wife the pic on VeloNews over coffee this AM and she says, "Oh yeah man, you're pretty gross when you race. That pic's about par for your course."
And all this time I'm thinking I'm like Mario Cipolini out there.
So it got me to perusing some old pics. Holy God. I am disgusting when I race. I am a free-flow-booger-shooter when the heart rate creeps up to 180. I do admit that I get shot by photographers often and that's cool. It's fun to see yourself captured in time. Now I know why they like shooting me. I am a fricking bio-hazard out there.
There are certain things you notice in cross if you have been around the sport for a while. While you watch the muddy and pained expressions go by as you stand in a pair of Wellingtons by the course tape or on your bootlegged Sporza DVD's, a moderately trained eye can see the difference between those who have come to play, and those who have come to be pack fodder....
The way Erwin shoulders the bike in a motion fluid, you're not sure how it got there....
The smoothness of Ryan Trebon's remounting...done so precisely, it belies his height...
The way Wellens muds....running so efficiently with arm wrapped tight around his Ridley's head tube.
It all leaves these indelible impressions on my mind. I study it obsessively.
Now freeze it all. In fact, freeze it in black and white to strip away all the unnecessary color to focus on the form, frozen in time.
This is exactly what the latest crop of photographers are giving us around our local race courses in from Portland, Boulder, Seattle and Boston all the way to East Outnowhere, US on any given Sunday.
And they get it.
There's Joe Sales....
Study his photo here at Loenhut in 06. Perfect. It's what we see but don't absorb every week at the races as its not the obvious race action...but the beautiful white noise and peripheral movement going on during it. He got it.
....and Natearm from the Pac NW,
In my (untrained) opinion, Natearm's images are glaringly the most stunning. Lots of black and white with absolutely crystalline clarity. They are almost creepy to look at....but like a car wreck, I can't turn away. I get lost in them like when you used to watch that girl across the classroom in 6th grade twirl her hair around her finger. Perfect.
Russ and Nancy Wright from the Bay Area....
Ah, my old friends. It was their photos they took of my crappy Cat 50+ races a decade ago where I saw myself as a crosser for the first time....at least it helped me see an identity I longed for so long ago when I was falling in love. They specialize in the racer as a subject of the race itself....not as a subject of nature or a pawn caught in an art school project. They capture as we are.
Local Boulder photographer who makes the art his trade, is Steve Z. I've been trading mails and blog posts with him since last year's Boulder Cup and got to meet home for the first time at the CO States this Sunday! (Great to meet you man!).
If you study it hard enough, you get it: Steve is a core biker. It's less of what Steve captures, but when. Wrap that sense of timing with a layer of dripping art that makes you say, whoa, and you get Steve.
And lest I forget, take the time to visit Denver/Boulder area photographers Mark Wollcott, Joe Strandell and Jason Rice who's pictures I post often given the frequency we see each other and commune over 'cross. These guys are the heart and soul of the local cross scene capturing every cat, at every race for months on end for us to purchase for our keepsakes.
So there you have it. I hope I have been able to expose a few more great artists who are capturing our sport for us to remember for the rest of our lives. If you explore their sites, you get into viral mode where they link to their incredibly talented friends who also use celluloid as their medium, while we use Dugasts and mud as ours.
I saw this posting on the Gooney Riders blog and had to re-cast it here. I am going to pick up this issue of Bike magazine and have a read for myself, but the thing that caught my eye are the dudes in the scanned pic! Those are my boys Tim, Rasta Steve and Troy!
Dudes, Bike mag made you famous...or the regularity of you 3 doing the Ned Bus ride to get your singletrack on up in the mountains merely had you once again in the right place at the right time. Ha!
Sunday Sunday Sunday! Rrrrrace fans! It was a THROWDOWN in Lyons today! My G-O-D, I am a geekdified-uber-zoopa cross fan. I admit it. I am in love with this sport. As I type this, my big toes and thumb are still painfully de-icing with a touch of frostbite. but the smiles from the memories today are still here late at night. I couldn't sleep for the pain in the appendages so I figured I'd type while the memories are fresh.
Today began in sun and 20 degree temps and tons of snow. As mentioned yesterday, I knew it was gonna be an epic, so I packed everything I owned into the grocery getter. Both cross bikes and my 1 x 1 for good measure. I got to the race site in 10 minutes as Lyons is just a stones throw away from the Republic.
I parked next to the Kappius' and just as I am getting out and getting my crap on to warm up, Russ pulls up with a big shit eating grin, all giddy on the course and the fun he'd just had. He pumps me up and I suit up, reg, and roll the course.
Brian H and family did not disappoint! It was an awesome course, perfectly matched to the conditions. The course basically put you out on a long flat snowy fire road straightaway, then did this long arc around he snowy field perimeter putting you at speed into the woods. The woods offered TONS of technical features which made my mind numb with glee. Tight off cambers, ditches, switch backs. Absolute fun. The earlier categories had matted down some good lines so it was relatively flat and fast. Brian introduced 2 sets of well placed barriers....a small/technical run up double and a fast triple. Both were designed to have all the action in the central part of this park to congregate people. TONS of tents with beers, brats and bikes were all centered there.
So after a few hot laps, the legs had this snap....a snap that I hadn't felt in a while. I get back to the car, strip off the warm up kit and leave on the leg warmers and two layers up top. On my feet I have plastic bags, and two pairs of socks. On my hands, blue latex surgical gloves under Pearl Izumi AmPhibs. I slide on the insulated skin suit and as I am trying to get it over two craft base layers....SNAP! The friggin zipper busts!! Those suits are so insulated you simply CAN'T have much under them. (So when you see the pics below, I swear I haven't been eating Gouda cheese and whole milk for the month! Ha! I am fully Michelin-ed in that skin suit with TOO much crap on underneath!). At that moment, Chris Graelish and wife miraculously walk up and help me solve the problem. Chris is calm saying, "No stress man! We got ya covered." "You need me to grab your jacket from you at the start." Absolute class. Husband and wife carefully pin up my suit with safety pins and wish me luck.
Chris, you have unbelievable class.
I get to the line for my race., the Open Men's 35+ (Master A, Vet pro....whatever you call it in your respective parts of the country...) and it's a big field given the conditions...save for no Chris Phenecie nor Timmy Faia! What's up guys?? I get the call up as I STILL miraculously have some points. They send us on our way up the long snowy straightaway and I am settled in nicely into the top 8 or 9. More or less exactly where I want to be if not a place or too too far back. I am running Dugast Rhinos today on my white bike with 38 PSI in 'em. Capital P perfect. As we're going into the snowy curves, dudes are washing out. The WB had this occur and let me come around. I freight trained it to catch up and pace with Karl K who is a few seconds behind the leaders. I am feeling light an super deep. I can get it into the 42 x 14 and keep it pinned so I am happy.
By minute 30 I am now in a position where I am 15-20 seconds to the lead group consisting of Dennis Farrell, Eric Sheagley, Karl Kiester and Clay Harris. Dave Towle and Nat Ross are calling out the race and I can hear where the leaders are by their descriptions. People are screaming insanely at me to bridge. By minute 35 (probably 2 to go), the Spike Shooter duo of Brian Maslach and JJ Clark are bridging. Shit. These guys have all kinds of accolades to their palmares. I am not going down without a fight! Brian gets up to me and we're dicing. They are good riders and smart ones at that. Brian knew when to attack me and I drilled it to try and keep tempo but no go. Too many watts in them thar legs. JJ is next and he bridges and identically he bridges, rests and attacks smartly and I have no deep response to him. Enough that I am going as fast as all get up, but clearly I can see the why these guys are special.
I finish up strong in the clear a few seconds behind JJ in 7th. I can not complain! I am stoked on the result as it proves I am back and over my sickness. It also will help me go into this next month of training solidly for Belgium rather than trying to try and overcome more flu/cold/crap and then seek motivation to get on rollers or the bike.
After my race, I ended up hanging out and simply enjoying my day as a super fan! The 3's race was great with a young Robin Eckman demonstrably better than the entire (huge field). That kid will be something special. I hung out with great people and just talked 'cross ALL DAY. It was a geek fest.
The race of the day (if you discount mine....ha!) was absolutely the Men's Open. It was a 4 way race of Brandon Dwight, JHK, Danny Summerhill and Matt Pachoca. They ALL traded the front at least once with Danny putting in a late race attack. Brandon in the last lap had this unbelievable through-the-barriers pass of JHK (who was bobbling with snow in his pedals and Longman captured RIGHT HERE!) to bridge to Danny. The WHOLE mass of spectators rushed from that section through the woods to the finish area to see Danny take Dubba by 2 seconds. I thought you had it Brandon! You made me HOARSE yelling for you!
So that's it folks! My CO 'cross racing for 2007 is finito! 13the place overall in the series which is what it is. Not my 'goal' per se but inexplicably hard-earned and definitely fun doing it.
Here's my digital celluloid before the batteries ran out!
Longman got some INEXPLICABLY great pics today of nearly ALL races. You are turning out to be the next Graham Watson. All Longman's pics can be seen here, but I'll leave you with this beauty:
Jason Rice donated these absolutely remarkable pics he snapped while hanging out at the race before leaving. Thanks for standing out in the cold Jason!! PLEASE visit his his site! Note the close ups of the ghetto pins holding my skin suit together! Ha!
The Birdman got some AWESOME pics! Thanks hombre for helping me document this day!!
By now, cross hoars, you've read every character and examined every pixel of this CyclingNews article on Nys' C50.
But holy crap on a stick. I'm gonna kick the ass of Sven's mechanic for the bunk job he did on his tape when I gets to Belgie! I mean Mourey's crappy tape job is one thing, but how could the Cannibal be let out on the parcours with this! For shame.